ABC7 is always on the lookout for real people working in their communities to Build a Better Bay Area... the advocates, the underdogs, the agents of change. We call them our ABC7 Allies in Action, and we hope you are as inspired as we are by their stories!
ALLIES IN ACTION: Click here for local help with complicated issues
ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH MUSIC: Music can change the world because it can change a person. This Bay Area program is creating change by bringing musical education into the lives of children in San Rafael and even helping them get into college. Watch the story here.
NATIVE LAND PROTECTOR: The CEO of The Cultural Conservancy Sara Moncada is committed to revitalizing Indigenous agriculture and transcending non-nutritious food diets towards more healthy ways of living. Watch the story here.
HOLISTIC HEALER: Bay Area nonprofit Inner City Bliss is driven by a single goal: Bringing more BLISS into the world. Founder Andre Humphrey cultivates inner peace within the community through trauma-informed, holistic wellness practices that help with trauma recovery. Watch his story here.
INSPIRING COURAGE: Samantha Ramirez has made it her life's mission to always show up with heart and stand for justice. Named San Rafael's "Citizen of the Year," Ramirez leads with courage, kindness, and inclusivity to inspire the youth community throughout this month and always. Watch her story here.
HABITAT HERO: Girl scout Faline Howard's deep admiration for monarchs motivated her to spearhead a movement tackling the monarch's declining population, while promoting conservation and restoration. With every milkweed planted, Howard helps preserve monarch butterflies. Watch her story here!
STEERING INDEPENDENCE: Meet the woman empowering community members with Down syndrome to maximize their individual abilities and help them shine! Laura von Savoye of Down Syndrome Connection offers unique recreational activities, like bike riding, to enrich and impact the lives of people with disabilities. Watch her story here!
TRANSLATINAS ADVOCATE: Nicole Santamaria was forced to flee El Salvador because of her advocacy work for human rights with the LGBTQI community. She has brought her expertise to the Bay Area and provides support for transgender women. Watch her story here!
COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR: After 20 years of incarceration, Sakhone Lasaphangthong transforms pain into purpose to cultivate a cleaner, safer Oakland Chinatown. On any given day, you'll find him and his team cleaning the streets, abating graffiti, and organizing volunteers. It's all to help restore a sense of public safety and neighborhood pride. Watch his story here!
PLANTING JUSTICE: Simone Robinson and Maya Salcedo are addressing structural inequalities and transforming the food system one garden at a time. 'Planting Justice' has built over 550 edible permaculture gardens and created thousands of green jobs. Watch their story here!
RIVETING ROSIES: Two tradeswomen who worked in home front shipyards during World War II share their stories of sacrifice while celebrating profound social change. They're known as "Rosies" in the spirit of Rosie the Riveter's "We Can Do It!" mindset. Watch their story here!
BAKING WITH PURPOSE: Rize Up Bakery founder Azikiwee Anderson reinvents sourdough bread with unique ingredients while feeding Bay Area communities in need. When customers buy two loaves of his "Pay It Forward" bread, one is donated on the purchaser's behalf to Bay Area food banks, homeless shelters, and more. Watch his story here!
CHINATOWN CHAMPION: Meet the man preserving Chinatown's cultural identity while tackling food and housing inequities. Malcolm Yeung helps Chinatown keep its cultural identity while ensuring affordable housing for its most vulnerable residents. Watch his story here!
CANINE COMPANIONS: Leading the service dog industry, "Canine Companions" expertly trains puppies to become skilled assistants for adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. The furry helpers are paired up with clients for unique support that's free of charge. Learn more about Canine Companions here.
HIP HOP HERO: One man is setting the stage for community empowerment through Hip Hop culture, and he's passing the mic to youth in the Bay Area. Musical artist and community organizer, Khafre Jay merged activism and expressive arts to found HipHopForChange. The nonprofit organization uses Hip Hop culture as a vehicle for education and storytelling, uplifting voices through performance. Watch his story here!
YOUTH CHANGEMAKER: Activist Tiana Day inspires youth to stand up, take charge, and be the positive change they'd like to see in the world. Her nonprofit organization Youth Advocates for Change hosts fundraising events, organizes rallies, and records podcasts--all with youth voices at the forefront. Watch her story here!
MAN WITH A MISSION: One man is helping to mobilize the Mission District during these challenging times. He's Roberto Hernandez, known in the community as the mayor of the Mission. Roberto recently founded Mission Food Hub, an organization that tackles food inequity while strengthening community trust in COVID-19 vaccination. Watch his story here!
COMMUNITY CRUSADER: Health and environmental justice organization Greenaction mobilizes community power to activate change in communities that need it most. At the forefront of the environmental justice movement, Greenaction's Co-founder Bradley Angel champions cleaner air in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Watch his story here!
ARTISTS IN ACTION: A vibrant mural has been unveiled at the corner of one of San Francisco's busiest intersections. The powerful message and the iconic location are symbols of pride for San Francisco's LGBTQ+ community, and for the talented artists who created it--Juan Manuel Carmona and Simón Malvaez. Watch their story here!
COMPASSIONATE HEALER: Clinical psychologist Dr. Nira Singh has made it her life's mission to provide culturally sensitive mental health services to marginalized communities throughout Santa Clara County. Watch her story here!
CLIMATE CHAMPION: A group of youth climate activists is championing social and environmental change not only during Earth month, but everyday. Leading the charge in the Bay Area is 18-year-old Isha Clarke whose work is rebuilding an equitable and sustainable planet. Watch her story here!
POWER BUILDER: At every stage of life, having the tools to succeed makes a difference. For a group of girls in West Berkeley, those tools are powered. Literally. They're members of Girls Garage. Founded by Emily Pilloton, it's a workshop built to foster confidence and agency, so young women can build the life of their dreams. Watch their story here!
TRANS DISTRICT TRAILBLAZERS: Since as early as the 1920s, San Francisco's Tenderloin District has been a home for transgender residents--and that's still true today. Within a 6-block section of the Tenderloin, known as Compton's Transgender Cultural District, three Black trans leaders are Building a Better Bay Area, by creating a safe, welcoming, and empowering neighborhood, led by trans people, for trans people. Watch their story here!
COMMUNITY BUILDER: In many communities across the Bay Area, people are in need. Whether it be from impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or for other reasons, a need is felt. In East Oakland, one community organization Trybe is stepping up to help. Watch Trybe's story here.
DANCING OUT LOUD: Antoine Hunter is a professional dancer and the artistic director of the Urban Jazz Dance Company. He is also deaf. Hunter founded the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival, an annual event that showcases the artistic contributions of deaf and hard of hearing people from all over the world. Watch his story here.
NOBLE RIDER: On the morning of May 29, Brianna Noble took her 17-hand horse "Dapper Dan" to a protest in Oakland against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. With a "Black Lives Matter" sign slung over Dapper Dan's back, Brianna was not aware of the impact she was about to have as she trotted down Broadway.Watch her story here!
SWAN DREAMER: Being a black woman in a world dominated by white dancers is not easy. Aesha Ash travels the country with the message that talent shouldn't be constrained by race or socio-economic status. Her goal: to encourage young people to persevere and dare to dream. Watch her story here!
PASSION CREATORS: Three Bay Area filmmakers are following their passion and using it to tell stories about the human experience. Sephora Woldu, Nicolas Jara and Reid Davenport are local filmmakers who shared with us what drives them to tell stories. Check out their stories and find out how they are using their craft to tell important stories.
RAISING THE BARRE: San Francisco Ballet's youngest male principal dancer believes in spreading kindness when he's off stage. Benjamin Freemantle is also a self-taught barber and hits the streets around Civic Center to offer free haircuts to those who are down on their luck. Learn about his story here!
AMBASSADOR OF DANCE: As the Oakland Ballet Company celebrates its 48th season performing the Nutcracker, ABC7 News is recognizing a man, making a difference for his dancers and to the community around him. Read on to find out why Artistic Director Graham Lustig is this month's ABC7 Star!
GREYWATER RECYCLER: Sixteen-year-old Shreya Ramachandran isn't just TALKING about saving the planet, she's taking her own steps online, in the classroom and on the international stage. Her nonprofit Grey Water Project is the result of years of research and advocates repurposing lightly used water from the home to flush toilets and irrigate landscape. Watch her inspiring story here!
SEWING INSPIRATION: Fashion and footwear designer Devlin Carter's sneakers have blown up on Instagram. His unique style has gained the attention of thousands of people and celebrities all over the world. Inside Carter's Oakland show room, you'll find his designs. But, upstairs on the weekend, a fascinating operation is underway. He's teaching kids how to sew. Here's his story!
Lisa Gauthier has earned star status through her inspiring journey to reclaiming her education. Lisa is not your typical college student- she's also a third term East Palo Alto Mayor! Through her position as Government Affairs Manager at Study.com, she paved a new path for herself and others like her who lack the time or money to enroll in a traditional college setting. Gauthier recently graduated and received a Bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison State University while simultaneously serving as Mayor. Lisa proved her own motto as true: Education delayed is not education denied. Go here for her full story!